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eHam Forums => Antennas and Towers and more => Topic started by: W6UX on November 15, 2011, 04:17:34 PM



Title: N6BT Q52, Cushcraft MA-5B, or ??? (need suggestions on a my first beam antenna)
Post by: W6UX on November 15, 2011, 04:17:34 PM
Are there any other 5-band beams in the compact/mini beam class I should consider?

I'm limited by weight and space here at the QTH.  Hexbeam and Spiderbeam Yagi's will physically not fit into the area I've got to work with.  Need to keep the weight down as much as possible (this will be put up on a telescoping mast at 40', guyed and rotated from the base).

Thanks for any suggestions!

-Jeff


Title: RE: N6BT Q52, Cushcraft MA-5B, or ??? (need suggestions on a my first beam antenna)
Post by: KF6A on November 16, 2011, 03:05:31 PM
Everyone wants their cake and they want to eat it too, but that doesn't work in the real world. So, just to be clear, any antenna is a compromise of some sort, the question is; Which parameter of antenna performance are you willing to sacrifice? Size, weight, bandwidth, gain, pattern, and cost.

You want to be on 5 bands with a directional antenna that will fit in the space you have that is low in weight. What you have to decide is are you willing to sacrifice performance for being able to get on 5 bands in a compact space AND have a low antenna weight, because that is the reality of the situation. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. If you compromise and choose good performance on 3 bands and OK performance on 2 bands then there are many more options open to you. It all depends on what you are trying to accomplish with the antenna.

As for suggestions of what your first beam antenna should be, that requires more information. How much do you have to spend? What turning radius can you accommodate? How much can the antenna weigh? What performance do you expect out of the antenna? You cannot have cheap, light, small, and performance comparable to a full sized monoband antenna on every band.


Title: RE: N6BT Q52, Cushcraft MA-5B, or ??? (need suggestions on a my first beam antenna)
Post by: W6UX on November 16, 2011, 03:41:55 PM
Physical size and weight are the hard limits on my choices, and it's got to be no higher than 40-45 feet.  Even with those restrictions, a rotatable beam antenna will take my station to the next level.   I need to keep the turning radius under 12 feet, and need to keep the weight under 27 lbs as that is getting near the weight of a Spiderbeam Yagi, which I know the mast I've selected can support.  The MA5B just squeaks in under those limits.  The Q52 easily accommodates my needs, but feedback on its performance is harder to come by due to fewer owners (it just came out this past Spring).

Clearly the MA5B has a loyal following (based on reviews here), but I wanted to know if I've overlooked a popular choice in this class of beam.

de W6UX


Title: RE: N6BT Q52, Cushcraft MA-5B, or ??? (need suggestions on a my first beam antenna)
Post by: W5DQ on November 16, 2011, 04:28:56 PM
Physical size and weight are the hard limits on my choices, and it's got to be no higher than 40-45 feet.  Even with those restrictions, a rotatable beam antenna will take my station to the next level.   I need to keep the turning radius under 12 feet, and need to keep the weight under 27 lbs as that is getting near the weight of a Spiderbeam Yagi, which I know the mast I've selected can support.  The MA5B just squeaks in under those limits.  The Q52 easily accommodates my needs, but feedback on its performance is harder to come by due to fewer owners (it just came out this past Spring).

Clearly the MA5B has a loyal following (based on reviews here), but I wanted to know if I've overlooked a popular choice in this class of beam.

de W6UX

Never had a MA5B but years ago I used a Butternutt HF-5B which I suppose is similar in limitations. All I'll say is I got a strenuous workout trying to tune that beast. Every change change everything!!!! It was like the proverbial dog chasing his tail. 

Like was mentioned, I would suggest that you focus on 20-15-10 and let 17 and 12 fail where they may in performance. By that I mean, use a tribander and a tuner and you'll have better performance on 20-15-10 and better than dipole performance on 17 and 12. For an example, I have a small lot (roughtly 4/10 acre) and use a small C3S from the old Force-12 company. It has the 12 foot boom and I think the new Force 12 company out of Texas still sells it. Yes it will cost more than a MA-5B I believe and it will be larger but probably not weigh much more. I have mine at just shy of 40 foot so it matches your height requirement. The C3S is a great little antenna for it size especially on 20-15-10 although with a somewhat narrower bandwidth on 10M than the C3 with the 18 foot boom. It weighs around 20-25 lbs and I turn it easily with an old Alliance HD-73 rotor on top of a light duty crankup tower. The 20M elements are longest, of course, at around 37-38 feet tip to tip. I use it on 17 and 12 with a tuner and have very decent results. No, not 6 over 6 over 6 monoband results but much better than an old G5RV antenna would have in the same mounting space. I feed it with high quality low loss 50 coax (Davis RF BuryFlex) and drive it with a TS-940S and AL-811 amplifier at around 500 give or take depending on band.

Bottom line is don't compromise too much or you will have a nice looking decoration and not much else. Stick with tried and true designs of various tribanders and avoid the 'this antenna works better than a kilowatt amplifier' type of hype that is drolled out by the bucketful in magazine ads.

Good Luck,

Gene W5DQ


Title: RE: N6BT Q52, Cushcraft MA-5B, or ??? (need suggestions on a my first beam antenna)
Post by: KF6A on November 16, 2011, 05:20:29 PM
Physical size and weight are the hard limits on my choices, and it's got to be no higher than 40-45 feet.  Even with those restrictions, a rotatable beam antenna will take my station to the next level.   I need to keep the turning radius under 12 feet, and need to keep the weight under 27 lbs as that is getting near the weight of a Spiderbeam Yagi, which I know the mast I've selected can support.  The MA5B just squeaks in under those limits.
Then I would choose the larger of the two choices which does not use loading. 
Quote
The Q52 easily accommodates my needs, but feedback on its performance is harder to come by due to fewer owners (it just came out this past Spring).
I don't know much about that particular antenna but having used Tom's antennas before I can tell you I've been more than happy with their performance.

Quote
Clearly the MA5B has a loyal following (based on reviews here), but I wanted to know if I've overlooked a popular choice in this class of beam.

de W6UX
I would put less emphasis on a following by people, who may or may not know much about antennas, or who may or may not have much experience with other antennas to compare their new antenna to, and more on objectivity. Again, using the cake example, you cannot eat it and still have your cake. There are tradeoffs in any antenna and especially so when making an antenna smaller like the MA5B or other mini-antenna. Bandwidth, power handling, pattern, gain, complexity, etc. The MA5B may "work" and help you make contacts but that doesn't tell you how well it works compared to another antenna. I don't think I'll get too much of an argument from most people to state that mini-antennas have less than full sized performance to one degree or another.

 If you make too many compromises the antenna may "work" but you might not be too happy if you expected too much or you might be fine because it was that much better than the antenna you used to use.

If you're asking for a specific recommendation I can't help you as I have not used every antenna and don't know what you consider "good enough" performance. I choose an antenna by what is the closest to full size or uses the least amount of loading that fits in the space I have, and falls in the weight, windload and price I am limited to.


Title: RE: N6BT Q52, Cushcraft MA-5B, or ??? (need suggestions on a my first beam antenna)
Post by: W6UX on November 16, 2011, 06:28:55 PM
QSL, KF6A.

Thanks for the tip about using a tuner with a tri-bander to get access to 12 and 17.  I'll look into that and see what possibilities it opens up.

To sum up where I'm at:

Q52 Pros:
- Light, < 2 sq ft wind load
- Stealthy looking
- N6BT has a good reputation for making well performing products (e.g., Force12)
- rated at 1kW

Q52 Cons:
- A very new product, few reviews available
- Have been trying to get information from the manufacturer, but e-mails have gone unanswered (big red flag there)
- Complicated switching relays requiring separate and expensive control cable; reliability/durability unknown at this point
- Bandwidth unknown at this point

MA-5B Pros:
- Likely higher gain on 20, 15, and 10 than Q52 (still need to confirm)
- A popular, well liked antenna with 100+ reviews here on eHam
- No control cable needed to switch bands
- Tech support
- Local vender support (HRO)

MA-5B Cons:
- 9 lbs heavier than the Q52
- Slightly more visible antenna than Q52
- Slightly larger turning radius than Q52
- Requires additional mods during initial assembly to give it longevity
- users recommended no more than 500W to prevent damage
- bandwidth unknown at this point

Will keep researching these two.  If anyone knows of other HF beam antennas with a turning radius under 12' and weight under 30 lbs, please let me know.

73!
-Jeff


Title: RE: N6BT Q52, Cushcraft MA-5B, or ??? (need suggestions on a my first beam antenna)
Post by: G3TXQ on November 17, 2011, 06:53:20 AM
I'm unsure why you ruled out the Hexbeam - it comfortably fits within your turn radius and weight limits.

I owned an MA5B for a number of years - it was a nice antenna, but when I built my hexbeam it was a noticeable improvement.

73,
Steve G3TXQ


Title: RE: N6BT Q52, Cushcraft MA-5B, or ??? (need suggestions on a my first beam antenna)
Post by: W6UX on November 17, 2011, 09:01:23 AM
I'm unsure why you ruled out the Hexbeam - it comfortably fits within your turn radius and weight limits.

Steve, the HexBeam would have been my first choice, but my back yard is too small to even assemble it in.  It's what, 22' in diameter? I've only got 12' between my house and the back wall.  I don't know how I'd even lift it up to put it on the mast before pushing it up.  When I looked at others building their hex beams, they usually had a nice big yard to assemble it on the ground.  Looks like it would be a struggle to put it onto my mast, which is right up against the house.  The roof line comes down to about the 7' level, but I don't see how to do this.  Got any ideas there?

-Jeff


Title: RE: N6BT Q52, Cushcraft MA-5B, or ??? (need suggestions on a my first beam antenna)
Post by: G3TXQ on November 17, 2011, 09:12:36 AM
Steve, the HexBeam would have been my first choice, but my back yard is too small to even assemble it in.  It's what, 22' in diameter? I've only got 12' between my house and the back wall.  I don't know how I'd even lift it up to put it on the mast before pushing it up.  When I looked at others building their hex beams, they usually had a nice big yard to assemble it on the ground.  Looks like it would be a struggle to put it onto my mast, which is right up against the house.  The roof line comes down to about the 7' level, but I don't see how to do this.  Got any ideas there?
Hi Jeff,

I didn't realise you were so tight on ground space. All I could suggest would be assembling it nearby and carrying it into position. They are easy enough to carry when rotated 90 degrees, simply by grasping two of the spreaders. That would make it about 4ft wide and 11ft high. Only you would know if that's do-able :)

Good luck whatever you decide,
Steve G3TXQ


Title: RE: N6BT Q52, Cushcraft MA-5B, or ??? (need suggestions on a my first beam antenna)
Post by: W6UX on November 17, 2011, 09:15:53 AM
Mosley makes the TA32jr which can take a 12/17m add on:
http://www.mosley-electronics.com/pages/series/trapmaster.htm

Mosley also makes a 3 element mini tribander on a 6 foot boom, which is definitely within your weight and turning radius limits:
http://www.mosley-electronics.com/pages/amateur/mini33aw.htm

It also has the rotatable dipole add on for 12/17.

There are also the mini quads by TGM communications. THey have one that covers those 5 bands, plus 6 meters.

73s John AA5JG

Thanks John, the TA32jr would cross over my back wall about 2 feet, so that's ruled out.  The Mini-33AW fits the bill on weight and turn radius, and I'll keep it in mind.

Now that MQ-26 5 bander from TGM is something I didn't know about, and wow, I think we might have a new front-runner here. THANKS!


-Jeff


Title: RE: N6BT Q52, Cushcraft MA-5B, or ??? (need suggestions on a my first beam antenna)
Post by: W6UX on November 17, 2011, 09:18:19 AM
I didn't realise you were so tight on ground space. All I could suggest would be assembling it nearby and carrying it into position. They are easy enough to carry when rotated 90 degrees, simply by grasping two of the spreaders. That would make it about 4ft wide and 11ft high. Only you would know if that's do-able :)

Good luck whatever you decide,
Steve G3TXQ

I've got a friend down the street who had a hex beam, I don't know if it was your brand, but it was similar size.  I'll ask his opinion if if thinks it is doable to carry into place.  I may have one corner of the backyard I can assemble it on the ground and then lift into place on the mast with a ladder and some help.

-Jeff


Title: RE: N6BT Q52, Cushcraft MA-5B, or ??? (need suggestions on a my first beam antenna)
Post by: WB2WIK on November 17, 2011, 10:35:04 AM
Possibly you could assemble the Hexbeam on the roof of the house; there's likely sufficient space, and once completed you'd be very close to where it needs to be for installation.

I assembled by Tennadyne T8 LPDA beam (which is 18' long and 39' wide) entirely on the roof because I knew I'd have to get it up there, anyway, in order to pull it up the tower.



Title: RE: N6BT Q52, Cushcraft MA-5B, or ??? (need suggestions on a my first beam antenna)
Post by: W6UX on November 17, 2011, 10:52:26 AM
Possibly you could assemble the Hexbeam on the roof of the house; there's likely sufficient space, and once completed you'd be very close to where it needs to be for installation.

Also a possibility, so I'll keep chewing on that.  NA1A down the street had one, I'll see if he can swing by and offer an opinion.

-Jeff


Title: RE: N6BT Q52, Cushcraft MA-5B, or ??? (need suggestions on a my first beam antenna)
Post by: W6UX on November 17, 2011, 03:06:49 PM
After looking a little more at the various Hex Beams out there, I think I've found one I can work with.  Took some measurements out back and confirmed I do in fact have just barely enough room to build it.  I'll then tip it on end and get it up onto the roof with some extra help.  Shouldn't be too hard.

Time after time I found reviews by people who upgraded to Hex beams from the antennas I've been considering (e.g. MA5B, Mosely mini, etc).  They are just slightly larger in turn radius, and in fact, the Hex I'm looking at comes in at just under 20 lbs, so that is well within my needs.  The performance of this design is of course, well documented and proven.

Thanks for all the helpful suggestions in this thread.

73!
-Jeff


Title: RE: N6BT Q52, Cushcraft MA-5B, or ??? (need suggestions on a my first beam antenna)
Post by: M0TTB on November 17, 2011, 03:21:30 PM
Quote


Now that MQ-26 5 bander from TGM is something I didn't know about, and wow, I think we might have a new front-runner here. THANKS!


-Jeff

I have just retired the MQ26-SR (replaced with hexbeam, which is in a different league to be honest... thanks Steve)
I reckon it (the TGM) outperforms the MA5B on the warc bands but loses out fractionally on the main bands... the MA5B is extremely popular in the U.K. (small island, small houses, small yards, we know about minibeams!)

I have numerous near neighbours with MA5B's that I have been in pile-ups with, so you can get a rough idea of how they perform against eachother. The TGM has next to no F/B rejection, but reasonable side rejection... they don't like wet weather and the bandwidth on 20m is less than 100khz below 3:1

Having said that, nice little antenna, I worked 230 or so dxcc on it from the start of this year to September. In addition, if you ever can get a bit more up in the air, you can get the kit to turn it into the MQ36-SR.

Still, get a hex if you can... even the Traffie version, which has a slightly smaller diameter than Steve's version.


Title: RE: N6BT Q52, Cushcraft MA-5B, or ??? (need suggestions on a my first beam antenna)
Post by: W5PUG on November 19, 2011, 10:05:57 AM
Having been there I recommend you also consider a Hexbeam.  Traffie model takes the full legal limit, is very broadbanded and is a 2 element monobander on 5 bands 20-10. Mine was quiet and the best small beam I ever used. 


Title: RE: N6BT Q52, Cushcraft MA-5B, or ??? (need suggestions on a my first beam antenna)
Post by: WD4ELG on November 19, 2011, 08:05:16 PM
As a very happy (and biased) owner of the Traffie product line (HXL-20 and the five bander), can attest to their stealthiness, simplicity, ease of assembly, durability, and performance.  I have reviewed the Traffie products on eham under product reviews, so I won't recap.  If you are not happy, you can return for a full refund.  But you'll be happy.


Title: RE: N6BT Q52, Cushcraft MA-5B, or ??? (need suggestions on a my first beam antenna)
Post by: W6UX on November 19, 2011, 11:38:46 PM
Yesterday I ordered a HX-5Bi from Traffie Technology.  The 20 lb weight and 9.5' turn radius is going to work well.  Ordered a 15m aluminum mast from Spiderbeam and picked up a G-800DXA rotator from HRO.  Hope to get it up all and running in 4-6 weeks.

After the way the sweepstakes has been going so far, I am looking forward to some much needed directivity!!!!

Thanks everyone for helping me make a more informed decision!

de Jeff, W6UX


Title: RE: N6BT Q52, Cushcraft MA-5B, or ??? (need suggestions on a my first beam antenna)
Post by: M0TTB on November 20, 2011, 01:45:43 AM
Yesterday I ordered a HX-5Bi from Traffie Technology.  The 20 lb weight and 9.5' turn radius is going to work well.  Ordered a 15m aluminum mast from Spiderbeam and picked up a G-800DXA rotator from HRO.  Hope to get it up all and running in 4-6 weeks.

After the way the sweepstakes has been going so far, I am looking forward to some much needed directivity!!!!

Thanks everyone for helping me make a more informed decision!

de Jeff, W6UX

Excellent... good luck pushing it all up on the spiderbeam mast. I had a Spiderbeam 10m HD mast with the little tgm and rotator, and that wasn't much fun pushing it up (rubber gloves help, and don't drop the allen key whilst doing it) . I wouldn't extend it all the way with a 15m, I wouldn't extend any section to it's maximum extent.. and 2 tiers of guys maybe appropriate.


Title: RE: N6BT Q52, Cushcraft MA-5B, or ??? (need suggestions on a my first beam antenna)
Post by: W6UX on November 20, 2011, 08:58:23 AM

Excellent... good luck pushing it all up on the spiderbeam mast.

Did you place your rotator at the top of your mast?

My rotator will be placed at the base of the mast and 2 levels of guys will keep everything aligned vertically.  A 65mm thrust bearing will keep a lower section of mast secured to the house.  The rotator will be sitting on a welded structure firmly weighted down with rebar and concrete in the ground.  Spiderbeam has said a 15m mast should be fine as long as I keep the mast length to 38 feet or less.  Since the Hex is 4' tall, the whole antenna is going to be between 38' and 42' AGL, which is an effective height for this antenna.

For extra stability I'm going to adjust the tube sections of the mast so that the upper guy ring is just under the Hex Beam's hub. 

-Jeff


Title: RE: N6BT Q52, Cushcraft MA-5B, or ??? (need suggestions on a my first beam antenna)
Post by: M0TTB on November 20, 2011, 10:10:01 AM
Quote from: W6UX

Did you place your rotator at the top of your mast?

My rotator will be placed at the base of the mast and 2 levels of guys will keep everything aligned vertically.  A 65mm thrust bearing will keep a lower section of mast secured to the house.  The rotator will be sitting on a welded structure firmly weighted down with rebar and concrete in the ground.  Spiderbeam has said a 15m mast should be fine as long as I keep the mast length to 38 feet or less.  Since the Hex is 4' tall, the whole antenna is going to be between 38' and 42' AGL, which is an effective height for this antenna.

For extra stability I'm going to adjust the tube sections of the mast so that the upper guy ring is just under the Hex Beam's hub. 

-Jeff

You should be ok with the rotator at the base... with the extra weight of your mast vs mine (which had rotator at the top) it will probably be a similar task raising it. You wouldn't want to do it too often but with 2 guy levels and only semi extended, you shouldn't need to take it down... although getting it down is the easy part  ;D

73
Andy


Title: RE: N6BT Q52, Cushcraft MA-5B, or ??? (need suggestions on a my first beam antenna)
Post by: KA5N on November 20, 2011, 02:03:07 PM
A trick I used to pull the sections of my mast up when I installed my Hex beam was to  use
a steel ring and a hose clamp.  I clamped the steel ring to the mast section and used a lever
made out of a mop handle.  I cut a notch in the mop handle to keep the ring from slipping off.
Then I put a brace fulcrum(notched 2X4) under the mop handle.  Hold a strain on the mop handle
and loosen the retainer bolt and you can lift the mast about two feet.  Retighten the retaining bolt and loosen the hose clamp and lower it down two feet, tighten and go again.
While this sounds like a lot of work, it is actually much easier (at least for old codgers) than lifting the mast with one hand while keeping it from sliding down with the other.
Raising the 30 foot mast became a 10 to 15 minute no-strain job.  If you accidently let the mast
slide back it will only go two feet instead of all the way.
I don't know why I didn't think of this a long time ago.  Of course I was standing on my patio
cover which is flat while I did this.  If you stand on a ladder you will need to secure the fulcrum.

Allen


Title: RE: N6BT Q52, Cushcraft MA-5B, or ??? (need suggestions on a my first beam antenna)
Post by: KA7NIQ on December 05, 2011, 09:56:53 PM
Yesterday I ordered a HX-5Bi from Traffie Technology.  The 20 lb weight and 9.5' turn radius is going to work well.  Ordered a 15m aluminum mast from Spiderbeam and picked up a G-800DXA rotator from HRO.  Hope to get it up all and running in 4-6 weeks.

After the way the sweepstakes has been going so far, I am looking forward to some much needed directivity!!!!

Thanks everyone for helping me make a more informed decision!

de Jeff, W6UX
Just curious, why did you order a Traffie technology Hex Beam. I live near Tampa Florida, and have talked with several hams who have went to the Ugly Hex Beams.
Not ONE Ham I know ever ordered a Traffie Hex Beam. Every single one of them got the KIO Hex Beam that Steve guy from England Computer Modeled. I understand it has better front to back ratio then the Traffie, a very important consideration when you live here in Florida, with South America constantly causing interference.
Hex Beams are ugly to me, but they are light, work ok, and have low wind load.

Were you simply unaware at the time that the KIO Hex Beam designed by that Steve Guy from England is electrically superior to the Traffie Hex Beam ?
The Traffie is a little smaller I am told, was that why you gave up the better performance ?



Title: RE: N6BT Q52, Cushcraft MA-5B, or ??? (need suggestions on a my first beam antenna)
Post by: W6UX on December 06, 2011, 12:01:45 PM
Just curious, why did you order a Traffie technology Hex Beam.

The primary factor for me was the smaller turning radius (9.5' vs 11') and reduced weight (19.5 lbs vs 25 lbs).  I have to put this up on an aluminum push-mast (Spiderbeam 15m @ 38' and guyed, to be rotated at the base).

I read hundreds of customer testimonials for each version of hex beam out there, and what I found is there were hardly any negative reviews by anyone for any vendor (they all work good!).  It's a good design that is proven.  Some say the Traffie is a bit more refined and polished that the other makes, while others prefer to spend less money on the KIO, Bobber, or DX Engineering version.  I didn't come across any in-depth performance comparisons between the various brands, but it would be moot anyway, since I'm putting this up on a very small lot and can't have an 11' turning radius (the antenna would just about be extended beyond my backyard wall and very close to some trees).

I'm upgrading from an inverted V doublet so I have no doubt I'm going to be thrilled with the Traffie's performance.  I can't find a better antenna compatible with my QTH.

BTW, when you have a question or need technical support, you get Mike Traffie.  Quickly!

-Jeff


Title: RE: N6BT Q52, Cushcraft MA-5B, or ??? (need suggestions on a my first beam antenna)
Post by: KQ0C on December 06, 2011, 12:52:19 PM
For the record, I have a Mosley Tribander, a TRAFFIE Hex Beam and a KIO Hex beam all on the same hilltop which I use as a contest location. I can not sense much performance difference between them except that the Mosley has a bit less 2:1 band width on 20 meters. All of these antennas are excellent performers. The KIO is well built, but not quite as impressively engineered as the Traffie. I have never been able to sense any performance or SWR difference between the two hexes. Very occassionally I'll get a better report on the Mosely than the hexes... which may refelct the 3 element vs 2 element design.

The Hex beams are very robust and easy to move around when strung together... you could roll them if you wanted to. They have less windage and torgue rotors less.


Title: RE: N6BT Q52, Cushcraft MA-5B, or ??? (need suggestions on a my first beam antenna)
Post by: KA7NIQ on December 06, 2011, 08:23:45 PM
Just curious, why did you order a Traffie technology Hex Beam.

The primary factor for me was the smaller turning radius (9.5' vs 11') and reduced weight (19.5 lbs vs 25 lbs).  I have to put this up on an aluminum push-mast (Spiderbeam 15m @ 38' and guyed, to be rotated at the base).

I read hundreds of customer testimonials for each version of hex beam out there, and what I found is there were hardly any negative reviews by anyone for any vendor (they all work good!).  It's a good design that is proven.  Some say the Traffie is a bit more refined and polished that the other makes, while others prefer to spend less money on the KIO, Bobber, or DX Engineering version.  I didn't come across any in-depth performance comparisons between the various brands, but it would be moot anyway, since I'm putting this up on a very small lot and can't have an 11' turning radius (the antenna would just about be extended beyond my backyard wall and very close to some trees).

I'm upgrading from an inverted V doublet so I have no doubt I'm going to be thrilled with the Traffie's performance.  I can't find a better antenna compatible with my QTH.

BTW, when you have a question or need technical support, you get Mike Traffie.  Quickly!

-Jeff
Thanks for the fast reply Jeff.
I can see your requirements for smaller size tilted your decision to  the Traffie Hex Beam. And, as you said, it is a proven design, and I understand Mike Traffie is easy to get hold of, if you need him.
This is a personal opinion, but the Hex Beam is ugly looking IMHO, and that's what ruled it out for me. I live in the Tampa Florida area, I can envision birds camped out on all those wires, and the fallout zone below.
I own an Aluma Tower, a 55 footer that cranks up. It is a lightweight tower, and the Hex Beam was strongly suggested to me for it by the Aluma Tower Rep who owns a Hex Beam himself.
I wound up with a Cush Craft A3s and a 40 meter add on kit.

I post and read over at QRZ, and there is this Steve Guy from England who answers many antenna questions there. I can't remember his call. I understand he is the guy who is responsible for the KIO Hex Beam design. Steve has answered several antenna questions of mine, even took the time to computer model weird antenna ideas I had, to show me what would happen with this antenna scenario, or that.
Steve even owned the Cush Craft MA 5 mini beam antenna, and used it before he set out to improve the Hex Beam.
I am sure Mike Traffie is a great guy too, but he is not on the Ham Radio Forums like Steve is, and that is important, to me.
Tom Rausch, W8JI, is another one. My dream antenna tuner is the top of the line Ameritron, because Tom designed it, and he is on these forums daily, helping other Hams.
I bought my Cush Craft A3s used, but I knew Joe Riesert helped design it, and he was always posting on Tower Talk.

I suggested to Hex Beam Steve (that's the nickname I gave him) to think about adding a 40 meter loaded element to the Hex Beam.
Besides finding a great deal on a used Cush Craft A3s, it also gave me 40 meters, because mine has the 40 meter add on kit!
Yes, I give up 12 and 17 meters, but the A3 can be used with a tuner on those bands, although not with as good performance as a Hex Beam.
But 40 meters is MUCH more important to me then 12 or 17 Meters, and the Hex beam has no 40 meter option.

If there were some way to get the hex beam to work on 40 meters close to a dipoles performance, I think the hex  beam makers would sell more of them.
The Cush Craft A3s w/40 meter add on kit, gives me 40,20,15, and 10 meters all at 55 feet, 12 and 17 with a tuner.

The used Cush Craft A3 with 40 meter add on kit only cost me 200.00, and a 3 hour drive over to the east coast of Florida from Tampa.
But I could have easily afforded a Hex Beam, and ugly as I feel they are, I would have bought one in a heartbeat, IF it had a 40 meter component.
And, if the 40 meter capable Hex Beam was from Mike Traffie instead of Hex Beam Steve who didn't have one, too bad Steve.

Another cool antenna is called a Cobbweb, it is basically a 10 through 20 meter array of folded square 1/2 wave dipoles. Then, there is that new N6BT Q 51 or Q 52 that is on N6BT's web page.
Neither do 40 meters, unfortunately.
I have also heard an antenna company is working a a shortened element log periodic to cover from 20 through 10 meters. I wonder how that will play ?









Title: RE: N6BT Q52, Cushcraft MA-5B, or ??? (need suggestions on a my first beam antenna)
Post by: KF6A on December 07, 2011, 01:04:05 AM
Yesterday I ordered a HX-5Bi from Traffie Technology.  The 20 lb weight and 9.5' turn radius is going to work well.  Ordered a 15m aluminum mast from Spiderbeam and picked up a G-800DXA rotator from HRO.  Hope to get it up all and running in 4-6 weeks.

After the way the sweepstakes has been going so far, I am looking forward to some much needed directivity!!!!

Thanks everyone for helping me make a more informed decision!

de Jeff, W6UX
The hex beam is a good choice. Good luck and good dx! See you in the pileups! :-)


Title: RE: N6BT Q52, Cushcraft MA-5B, or ??? (need suggestions on a my first beam antenna)
Post by: KQ0C on December 07, 2011, 08:12:00 PM
You are going to love that antenna.

I have painted the spreaders camo green, and it becomes almost invisible. When they are white they are a bit more visible.


Title: RE: N6BT Q52, Cushcraft MA-5B, or ??? (need suggestions on a my first beam antenna)
Post by: K2MK on December 08, 2011, 04:46:54 AM
Hi Jeff,

I saw photos of a very interesting arrangement either here or on the Yahoo hex beam reflector. The ham used a push up mast and had the rotator at the bottom as you intend to do. What he did, however, was to put a small TV rotator at the top of the mast mounted horizontally. It just took some pipe nipples and elbows to accomplish it. Then he inserted a short mast into the rotator that the hex beam hub would slip onto. So if you can picture this, the antenna, when attached to this short mast, is in a vertical orientation. After pushing up the mast to full height he activates the small rotator and lets it turn 90 degrees thus positioning the antenna horizontal.

I think this was needed because the mast was very close to his house. I've searched the photo section on the hex beam reflector and of course I can't find it. It was very ingenious.

Good luck with the Traffie. I have mine at 30 feet and it is outstanding. I'm looking forward to a great 10 meter contest this weekend.

73,
Mike K2MK


Title: RE: N6BT Q52, Cushcraft MA-5B, or ??? (need suggestions on a my first beam antenna)
Post by: KT4NR on December 08, 2011, 01:24:27 PM
Why not a quad? Compact, lightweight and you can easily build it yourself. I know a guy who has a 2 ele 10-20m quad mounted on a mast behind his she and it works fantastic. At 45 a quad for 6-20 could easily be accomplished with your specs in mind.